DECEMBER 08, 2015
It’s been well documented that government wastes enormous amounts of money on all sorts of outrageous things and now some of the enraging details are available in a lengthy report that reveals how the cash is being spent, like studying bugs’ reactions to artificial light, a weight-loss program for truck drivers and a federal agency’s multi-million-dollar social media account.
Dozens of examples are included in the 145-page document, which was made public this month by a U.S. Senator that reminds us in the introduction that “our national debt is careening toward $19 trillion (yes, that is a 19 followed by 12 zeros).” Yet Uncle Sam keeps blowing hundreds of millions of dollars on ridiculous things that lawmakers can’t possibly justify. Here’s one of the many examples included in the report; the government actually spent $300,000 to study how previously married seniors handle dating later in life. The weight-loss program for truck drivers cost an astounding $2.7 million and $406,419 was dedicated to determine whether the media polarizes people politically.
Here’s another big winner; the Department of Defense (DOD) blew a mind-boggling $48 million on military supplies for Yemen that never made it out of a Virginia warehouse! The merchandise included medical supplies, corroded batteries and low-grade explosives for airplane ejection seats, according to the report. The State Department spent $5.75 million in foreign countries to conserve a Buddhist temple in Vietnam, on Bengal folk music in India and to preserve Jamdani weaving traditions in Bangladesh. U.S. spending abroad should advance American national interests, the report points out, and none of these causes appear to meet the criteria.
The State Department also doled out a breathtaking $5 million to maintain a Twitter account that aims to deter middle school students from becoming terrorists and $545,000 to teach agency leaders how to testify before Congress. The National Science Foundation (NSF) spent $1.2 million to train robots how to help dress the elderly by, among other things choosing outfit combinations. The DOD actually wasted $328,500 to study a tiny bird by tracking its nests, the ability of babies to learn to fly and the temperature and availability of food around the nest. The senator’s report asks “in what universe should the DOD spend $283,500 to study the day-to-day life of a tiny bird? How is American national security strengthened by this study? DOD should be in the business of defense, not nature conservancy.” It also points out that another federal agency is already tasked with conducting these types of studies.
Some of the cheaper, albeit wasteful, projects include a $48,500 study of the history of tobacco use in Russia, a $25,000 grant to fund the Oscar museum in Hollywood, $25,000 for media ethics training in India and $50,000 to create technology that comes up with random casino numbers. The study on bugs’ reactions to artificial light mentioned earlier in this post cost American taxpayers $65,473 and was conducted by the National Park Service (NPS). From the report: “The federal government spent more than $65,000 to study what happens if someone turns on a light at night in a rural area. Anyone raised in a rural area can attest that one way to attract insects is to turn on a light. This type of ridiculous spending is why American taxpayers have been saddled with a debt of approximately $19 trillion. NPS needs to put down the national credit card and walk away.”
Over the years Judicial Watch has written about similar congressional reports documenting the government’s manic spending spree. In fact, the “Wastebook 2013” listed nearly $30 billion in senseless projects, including a $390,000 global warming cartoon series, $379 million to promote Obamacare and $65 million in Hurricane Sandy “emergency” funds on television ads. Two years earlier, the “Wastebook 2011” listed about $6.5 billion outrageous projects like a $10 million remake of a popular American kids show for Pakistan, $35 million for political party conventions and a $550,000 documentary about how rock music contributed to the collapse of the Soviet Union.
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